ClassicAstronomy

14 yrs and up, $175, 14 week course - Prerequisite: Foundational Great Books

This course will immerse students in an examination of our wider cosmos as they come to understand the purpose of studying Astronomy and how it points to an outside Intellect as the Creator of the Universe. Through the writing and mathematical hypothesis of the ancient astronomers, students will investigate the movements of the heavens and how their early understanding progressed to our knowledge of the heavens today.

[This course is currently undergoing some revision and updates will be forthcoming.]


 Projects:

  • Observing the setting of the Sun, time based upon a point of reference location.
  • The movement of the stars across the sky, through choosing one star close to the horizon and noting the time it sets.
  • Noting the phases of the moon throughout the month.
  • Observations of the planets either hands on, or through of the use of Stellarium (software program)

Overview:

Week 1: Plato’s Timaeus

Week 2: Plato’s Timaeus

Week 3: Ptolemy – The Almagest: Book 1, Chapters 1–3 (Preface, On the Order of the Theorems, That the Heavens Move Spherically)

Week 4: Ptolemy – The Almagest: Book 1, Chapters 4–6 (That the Earth Taken as a Whole Is Sensibly Spherical, The Earth is in the Middle of the Heavens, That the Earth has the Ration of a Point to the Heavens,)

Week 5: Ptolemy – The Almagest Book 1 Chapter 7 – That the Earth Does Not in any Way Move Locally

Week 6: The two motions of the Heavens

Week 7: The two motions of the Heavens and the Sun in Particular

Week 8: Two Geometric Hypotheses

Week 9: Differences between the outer and inner planets  - pg. 146 - 154

Week 10: The Perplexing Equation S=L+A  - pg. 155 - 163

Week 11: Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres: Forward “To The Reader,” Preface and Dedication to the Pope Paul III

Week 12: Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Book One: Introduction, Chapters 1–2 & 4–6
(Chapter 1: The World is Spherical; Chapter 2: The Earth is Spherical Too; Chapter 4: The Movement of the Heavenly Bodies; Chapter 5: Does the Earth Have a Circular Movement? And of its Place; Chapter 6: On the Immensity of the Heavens in Relation to the Magnitude of the Earth)

Week 13: Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Book One: Chapter 7–10
(Chapter 7: Why the Ancients Thought The Earth was At Rest at the Middle of the World; Chapter 8: Answer to the Aforesaid Reasons and Their Inadequacy; Chapter 9: Whether Many Movements Can be Attributed to the Earth, and Concerning the Center of the World; Chapter 10: On the Order of the Heavenly Orbital Circles)

Week 14: Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Book One: Chapter 11
A Demonstration of the Threefold Movement of the Earth (you may stop before the letter from Lysis to Hipparchus).


  1. Please Note that the Projects are optional but may assist in a greater understanding of the methods used by the Ancients and help further the understanding of the motions of the Heavens. Details for each project will be given at the appropriate class.